Last weekend, my social media sites were inundated with Oscar-related images and statuses, with several things trending on Twitter. These included Benedict Cumberbatch’s photobomb, and Jennifer Lawrence tripping up (again!), not to mention Ellen DeGeneres’ celebrity-filled selfie that took less than 40 minutes to beat Obama’s previous record for the most retweeted post of all time. But social media wasn’t just being used to tweet the latest celebrity fashion hits and mishaps. An analytics division of technology company ICC, Farsite Forecast, was just one of the few experts who accurately predicted the winners of six categories using social media as part of the analysis. The question is, how did they do it?
Farsite used a data-modelling tool to predict the winners for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. The model incorporated over 40 years of film industry and award-related information, including real-time data and variables such as nominations and wins, social buzz and nominee’s previous winning performances. That’s a hell of a lot of data to check, but it certainly paid off as the company got all six of the categories correct, despite the fact I personally would have much rather seen Leonardo DiCaprio beat Matthew McConaughey!
Of course, the analysis wasn’t done solely using social media and you may be sceptical as the sample size was small. However, it does prove that this means of communication is quickly becoming more significant in today’s ever- increasing social society. The fact is, people’s opinions are important and worth taking notice of.
If this kind of analysis works for the likes of the Oscars, imagine the power it hands to web-savvy businesses. Social media cannot be ignored as a medium for both listening to – and engaging with – customers. Perhaps companies should start paying more attention to this and make use of what their users are saying online to help with marketing strategies. Or, at another level, social media analysis could be used to monitor and prevent unlawful activity such as riots and protests.
Nowadays, it’s not only big data analytics that can help predict outcomes, as social media data is also being used for similar purposes. With so much information being publicly accessible and shared on social platforms, greater business insights are now becoming possible.